“I’ve given methods for the cheapest method till date for water treatment in the Sukinda valley.”
The ever welcoming, ever smiling face with a generous personality graced us his valuable time for a small interaction with him where we were able to know a whole lot of things about this honourable personality; Prof. Rahas Bihari Panda; H.O.D. Deptt. Of Chemistry.
Team VISSION : How and why did you chose chemistry and environmental science as your career?
“ In 1980s there was a lot of hue and cry over the fast-rising pollution and the increasingly damaged environment. There was a World Earth Summit in Geneva(1972) to address the burning issues that earth had been facing. The then PM of India initiated the Ganga Action Plan to clean the river Ganges. At that time, environment was burning. And saviors were needed. It was the need of the hour. So I made up my mind to do something for the nature and pay privileges to it by working for its protection.
Team VISSION : Describe your work history.
In 1985, I passed MSc and qualified Gate fellowship under Ministry of Environment and Forest(MoEF) to work on the pollution board of Brahmani river, which was at that time the 2nd most polluted river. I started my work & did a study of pollution of river Brahmani & submitted a report full of recommendations and solutions to the MoEF. I did my PhD. And worked for Hindustan Zinc Ltd. As a scientist. Over the last 17 years I’ve worked for many industries and earned much name and fame including even the mining sector. I’ve been constantly providing new techniques for plantation and construction site plants instead of Eucalyptus, Chakalya,etc. I’ve given best technique for water treatment in Sukinda valley. I have designed cheapest technology for water treatment till now for which I received best scientist award ( Supkanam Sarovarogi Award) 1994 from the MoEF. In 2004 I joined Fakir Mohan Senapati College as head of the Environmental Science Deptt.in order to create a department to provide best teaching facilities in environment and to produce trained environmental man-power to fulfill the growing need of industry & mines in Odisha. In 2014 August I joined VSSUT after 10 years of service in F.M.University, with aim to do something worthwhile for the university as well as for the western Odisha. I too am a native of Sambalpur district. Sambalpur has been a developing attraction for growing infrastructure. I will work my level best here to work for the university and also the industries to create a pollution free status for the western part of Odisha.
Team VISSION : You’re now a top faculty at VSSUT, what strategies did you adopt to be successful? What is your secret to success?
“I work by the motto-“ Do something for the society”. This yearning of mine to work for the society has given me immense success and fame. Besides that concentration, hard labour and resolute determination to work towards your goal is my secret.”
Team VISSION : Sir, could you describe your teaching style?
I always put real life, burning examples before my students to reflect upon them so that they can relate it with their studies. It always helps.
Team VISSION : What do you consider to be the greatest achievement(s) in your life?
One; I have planted near about 8 lakh trees in my life with the help of Govt. I’ve created a big forest in my village ( Satijore, Chiplima) considering the fact that there were barely any trees there when I was a child.
Two; I have given methods for the cheapest method till date for water treatment in the Sukinda valley. The entire design, which was developed by me is priced as low as 10 paise per litre. Earlier it was % paise per litre.
Team VISSION : Sir, what are your research interests?
→Easy and cheap techniques for water treatment.
→Wasteland Reclamation by suitable planting.
Team VISSION : What is the best thing about being a professor?
A professor should have a vast knowledge and he must be able to teach a wide variety of things. That is most probably the best thing about a professor. You can guide the students for their betterness and towards perfection.
Team VISSION : Anything you don’t like about being a professor?
NO!, Nothing at all.
Team VISSION : Do you like your present work environment? Describe your ideal work environment.
Yes, it is very good. It is very important to have a good working atmosphere and with the development of lab infrastructure the students can be benefited. The faculties and students should have adequate interaction and latest infrastructure must be upgraded for best results.
Team VISSION : How do you adjust your teaching style to the less motivated students?
I give them special care personally and do not give up till he shows any signs of improvement.
Team VISSION : Sir, do you have any future goals for yourself?
Being a professor I aim to distribute wisdom among the students. And after retirement I will serve the society to make it completely free from pollution, free from toxicants and full-fledged protection of forest & wildlife.
Team VISSION : How has been your experience in VSSUT so far?
It has been so far excellent. All the fellow faculties are quite helping in nature. Students are very much interested in their studies and pretty conscious about their career. The non-teaching staff have been giving me good cooperation.
Team VISSION : How is the education system in which you studied in and the education system of today different?
There was no technology then. We were solely dependent on books. In our free time we used to go to libraries. But now with the advent of electronics technology, this is the age of powerpoints. Teaching and learning process, both has been easier.
Team VISSION : Any success mantra you would like to give to your students?
All the students must aim to work for the society. They should carry on their work without any motive of profit. Apart from that hardwork and dedication is the way forward.
Team VISSION : What changes have you brought to your department?
The workings of the department has been made systematic. Courses of studies have been revised. Practical classes have been rescheduled and improved with better lab facilities.
Team VISSION : What are your hobbies? How do you spend your leisure time?
I take care of the nature whenever I get time. Gardening, plantation and preservation of plants keep me occupied.
Team VISSION : Anything more you want us to know about you?
I’ve also been involved in many literacy drives. I was the coordinator of the NSS Dept. at F.M.College. I’ve taught in slum areas in Balasore to leprosy affected students. I’ve also distributed a lot of plants to many schools in Balasore. In Chiplima, I’ve my own nursery. It is not for sale, only for distribution.
Team VISSION : If not chemistry, which other career would you have chosen?